How to Tweet Effectively
With over 200 million active users, more than 500 million registered users and over 350 million tweets per day, Twitter provides businesses with a great opportunity to interact with their customers and increase their sales.
Unlike other social networks, Twitter limits its users to 140 characters per tweet. This means that you have to get you reader’s attention and say what you want to say in a very short space. The trick is to be creative in your tweets in order to gain followers and not find yourself lost in an ocean of irrelevant, pointless and unread tweets.
Businesses using Twitter would do well to adhere to an unwritten set of rules, some Dos and Don’ts if you like, that can help guide them through these sometimes unpredictable social networking seas. Professionalism and responsiveness are among the most crucial characteristics of successful business communication and interacting on Twitter is no different.
Here are some of my recommend Dos and Don’ts for building your business Twitter profile, promoting your business and increasing the likelihood of sales or leads.
- Proof-read tweets before posting! It seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many tweets fail to make sense or contain grammatical or spelling errors in them.
- Always check for any Direct Messages. Many businesses prefer to use DMs, at least initially.
- Always check for any Mentions. These can easily go unnoticed. Respond to any negative Mentions sympathetically, professionally and cautiously.
- Respond to DMs and Mentions in a timely manner. Almost 50% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour! A reasonable response time would be same day.
- Include a mix of content – images and links to relevant outside sources.
- Follow your industry leaders and experts. Doing this provides you with vital information about your competition and can give you a ‘heads up’ on new products, services etc.
- Always be professional in what you tweet. If you wouldn’t say something face to face, don’t say it in a tweet!
- Monitor keywords and competitors. If someone has issues with a competitor or asks questions about your business sector, answer them! It's an opportunity to win a new customer and develop your reputation as an authority in your field.
- Make your profile informative. Use your company logo as your profile or header image and state clearly what your business does. Your profile's main link should be to the most informative part of your company’s website.
- Include useful hashtags for searching purposes. If a lot of people are using the same hashtag, it becomes a trending topic. Choose hashtags that are relevant to your sector and/or campaign.
- Balance sales, promotional or advertising tweets with helpful information and conversations.
- Retweet (RT) information your followers will find interesting, entertaining or helpful.
- Integrate your Twitter account with other marketing efforts.
- Promote other businesses – the likelihood is that they will then do the same back. Follow Friday tweets are a great way to do this.
- Avoid too many hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to expose your tweets to more people. However, too many in one tweet can be distracting and you can end up looking like a spammer.
- Don’t let Twitter become an obsession. Set aside time each day to check in, respond to mentions and DMs etc. but make sure you have a life too!
- Don’t feel you have to follow everyone who follows you. Choose carefully. If not, you’ll end up with a newsfeed that is ‘over busy’ and full of irrelevant tweets.
- Don’t over-promote. Followers don’t want your business shoved down their throats 24/7.
- Don’t only tweet about selling your product/service. Followers will tire of you.
- Don’t use abbreviations that are too confusing and leave your ‘lol’s’ for texting!
- Don’t use emoticons – the smiley face isn’t big in business!
- Don’t get too personal. Save your personal tweets for your personal account or Facebook.
- Don’t over-tweet. Tweeting for tweets sake just irritates your followers. Only tweet if you have something informative, interesting, helpful or amusing to say.
- Do not leave your Bio box empty. Very important. It comes across as lazy and uninterested. Who would want to do business with someone like that?
- Steer clear of contentious topics such as religion or politics – unless, of course you happen to be a Minister or a Politician!